|The opening scene of the March 22 interview video [Click to view]|
Jordan, where she has been living freely since October 2011, has had an extradition treaty with the US since 1995. But starting two weeks ago, it claims the treaty has no effect... for reasons no one should take seriously. (And which the United States does not accept.)
Ignore the specious legalities. Jordan refuses to hand her over to the US because she is a national hero to the Jordanians, 70% of whom are Palestinian Arabs.
To state that more clearly: she's a Jordanian and Arab hero not because she is innocent (no one seriously claims that) but because she did plan and she did carry out the killings of Israelis. That's what makes her many supporters so proud.
Most of the people she killed were children. All were Jewish; the majority were religiously-observant Jews. None of this is coincidental. It was central to the killer's plan.
Our daughter Malki who was 15 years old was among those blown to pieces.
The woman's name is Ahlam Tamimi. She confessed to the murders in court when charged by Israel in 2003. She then confessed again and again and again on television, on the social media, in press interviews, at every opportunity. She has never stopped confessing. It is a core element of her persona. As a person who for more than four years hosted her own prime time television program recorded in Amman, Jordan, and beamed by satellite to every part of the world where there are interested Arabic speakers, she has had unprecedented opportunities to boast of her murders in public.
But this week she stopped, at least for a moment. She has decided she's innocent.
Here's what happened.
Associated Press sent a team to interview Tamimi in her home in Amman last week. (The details we leave for another time. We have lodged a bitter complaint with AP.)
AP has just posted to YouTube the raw video of that Tamimi interview here. They did it quietly and with no announcement, certainly not to us, and almost no one has noticed. It has gotten fewer than 50 views as of now (4:00 pm Friday Israel time).
Look at just the first two minutes. There's no English translation in the raw video. But with the help of native-Arabic speakers, we're told this is what the FBI fugitive is saying:
"The court ruled for not extraditing me to the US. Of course I'm happy, that was my first reaction, because I didn't do anything, and the charges filed against me by the US are not true, I know nothing about them and I never did that. The Jordanian decision [not to extradite] was true, because the court in Jordan asked the US to send the whole file of the lawsuit but it didn't do that." [Tamimi, interviewed by AP on March 22, 2017]Shortly after that, she says:
"When we carry out defensive operations in Palestine we don't target children, but they are there normally, I will never ever kill a child deliberately, but they are there." [Tamimi, interviewed by AP on March 22, 2017]
On the other hand, there's no shortage of videos showing Tamimi boasting of systematically selecting a site (i.e. Sbarro) that attracts crowds of children; of the joy she felt at learning how many lives she had extinguished; about the rising pleasure of the people sitting with her as she fled the scene in a Jerusalem-to-Ramallah Arab taxi who were thrilled at the news of a growing death toll coming in over the radio about the massacre... and what a battle she faced to not admit to them that she was the bomber.
Since early 2012, we have been trying to get her behind American bars (our daughter Malki was one of the two US citizens killed in the Sbarro attack), we have grown familiar with how the truth gets bent into unrecognizable shapes and how this gets enabled. Tamimi's new denials, which we assume she intended as an answer the FBI's charges against her and not about the actual murders, will cause some part of the global public to have doubts about her culpability. That's of course especially true in her home base, the Arab world. We've learned such things don't just happen. They're made to happen. It's an aspect of cognitive warfare.
Why do we allow this to be so easy for them? Can anyone recall a previous instance of a convicted murderer, an FBI fugitive, being granted a global media platform to spread poisonous, self-justifying views? Is there something about Islamist terror or the generations-long Arab-on-Israeli warfare that explains it?
[For our previous posts about Tamimi, click.]
UPDATE Sunday, April 2, 2017: See Frimet Roth's take, via her blog: "Falling victim to the media's "most ethical" behavior"